A history of Bitmain, WSJ investigates ShapeShift, and a new Indian exchange

“Wouldn’t it be great if you could just take the money that you were going to donate to someone, put it into a hidden form that couldn’t be confiscated and would be invisible to the authorities, and then there’s no longer a death tax?” Erik Voorhees, CEO ShapeShift

The Big Block

Nothing strikes more fear into the hearts of those in the crypto community than the news of Bitmain Technologies taking an interest in their projects. The firm, often just called Bitmain, is by far the most dominant crypto-mining manufacturer in the young industry. Most recent estimates suggest that Bitmain owns 74.5% of the market for application specific integrated circuit (ASIC)-based cryptocurrency mining hardware — a market that is growing at a compound annual growth rate of ~195%. It is no surprise then just the thought of Bitmain creating ASIC miners for cryptocurrency projects could induce anxiety for developers. Bitmain’s entry into different projects often forces core developers to hard fork their blockchains — literally breaking them in two — to prevent the mining giant from monopolizing the mining process.

While Bitmain plays a vital role in the current crypto ecosystem, its dominance was never a sure thing. The company struggled through multiple challenges that could have caused it to shut down for good. This is the story of how Bitmain pioneered an entirely new industry and the risks it took to get there.

Read More on The Block (7 Minutes)

Around The Block

SEC and CFTC charges 1Broker for violating U.S. securities law

The two government agencies charged 1Broker, along with its CEO Patrick Brunner, for selling security-based swaps to U.S. and international investors without meeting the “discretionary investment thresholds required by the federal securities laws.” — More

WSJ investigates ShapeShift’s role in cryptocurrency money laundering

The Wall Street Journal tracked funds from over 2,500 suspected crimes that used bitcoin and ether, identifying ~$90M laundered through 46 cryptocurrency exchanges. The top five exchanges, by laundered funds received, includes Binance, Bitfinex, ShapeShift, BTC-e, and Bittrex. — More

Indian cryptocurrency exchange stops trading — More

U.S. House passes bill for crypto-terror task force — More

15 U.S. Lawmakers ask SEC for clarity on ICOs and digital tokens — More

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